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  • 2008 January | BEYONDbones
    to travel to North America Again This time to see people I ve met thousands since arriving and been amazed at how many different kinds there are and how happy most seem to see me Then there was Mike I saw him early in January this year I ve been here a while now so I ve got the first impressions thing down As we exchanged greetings I passed along my best wishes and a Happy New Millennium from all the folks back home in Ethiopia Mike seemed perturbed though He thanked me for the wishes but then his eyes kind of glazed over He seemed not just to see through me but rather past me Instead of learning about me he seemed lost in his own thoughts As if he did not get who I was and what I represented I wanted to shout Mike It s me Lucy You know one of your distant ancestors My cries were left unanswered Mike slowly turned and walked away Oh well I thought at least he seems to be doing well Still bipedal and obviously a much bigger brain I m so proud Uses fancy tools too it looked like I never got a chance to use them and I m still trying to figure out what most of them are for We had to survive using our small brains see No stone tipped spears no burning torches to keep the animals at bay Definitely no cell phones Instead we climbed trees at night to stay out of trouble and during the day as we stood upright Just like you Mike I kept thinking we kept an eye out for predators Not easy being me you know But we all managed somehow In fact I was happy to learn that my kind was around for 600 000 years Mike I understand that your people have been around for about 200 000 years Cool Keep up the good work Another 400 000 years and you ll have been just as successful as we were But you left me with a lingering concern for your doubts I kept thinking Here I am Mike Real bones Real fossilized remains You seemed unimpressed Not a replica and certainly not a fake either I wanted to add but to no avail You were gone Mike I ll make no bones about it thank you for your visit I was very glad to meet you But you should use that large brain you ve got it s telling you to look deeper There is more to me than what you saw I am Lucy and you are my legacy PS Not to hurt your feelings but I have had dates before Mike One guy really fancied me I think I like him too Love Lucy Posted in Lucy s Legacy Tagged Anthropology bones HMNS letter Lucy tools Leave a reply The Apple Doesn t Fall Too Far from the Tree Published by Dirk on January 24 2008

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2008/01/ (2016-02-12)
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  • 2008 February | BEYONDbones
    plants as well setting the stage for agriculture in this part of the world In Europe people to move further north as the last Ice Age comes to an end So what does 10 000 B C really represent Rampaging herds of mammoths A myriad of busy workers building pyramids A threatening tête à tête between a human and a saber tooth cat Nope 10 000 B C is a date that roughly marks the earliest known transition from a lifestyle of hunting and gathering to one of agriculture and animal domestication Villages towns and cities soon followed Writing eventually came about as well as a means of keeping track of wealth Schools were not far behind Now that s progress Posted in Lucy s Legacy Tagged 10000 BC Anthropology Clovis people HMNS Lucy neolithic progress Leave a reply Timkat an Ethiopian Epiphany celebration Published by Dirk on February 12 2008 at 3 26 pm in Lucy s Legacy 3 The first week of January marks the time Ethiopians celebrate Timkat or Epiphany one of the most important holidays on the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian calendar While this holiday is celebrated nationwide the main event takes place at a huge open air venue in the capital Addis Ababa In 2005 a delegation from the Houston Museum of Natural Science had the privilege of participating in the celebrations Ethiopia s Patriarch His Holiness Abune Paulos presided over this very colorful event during which he blessed the assembled masses as well as the tabots or copies of the Ark of the Covenant that were brought before him After a series of prayers the Patriarch accompanied by representatives of other Orthodox churches dipped processional crosses in a large pool of water Immediately after this water is used to bless the gathered masses the logistics involved are interesting and stand in stark contrast to the pomp and circumstance used in the proceedings up until then Since the pool is located inside a fenced off area the Patriarch simply used a garden hose dipped into the pool to spray the blessed water onto as many people as possible See photo at left After a brief pause of mediation and musical performances the patriarch then proceeded to bless the priests who had gathered carrying their church s tabots By the time this takes place the priests dressed in very colorful outfits have been patiently waiting for hours while supporting the tabot on top of their head Once this blessing has occurred the ceremony winds down and the thousands of faithful disperse Timkat is celebrated by Christians throughout the country Places like Aksum the seat of Ethiopia s Christian community and Lalibela home to the famous rock hewn churches are also bustling with pilgrims during Timkat The continuation of these century old celebrations is yet another example of what Ethiopians call living history Posted in Lucy s Legacy Tagged Addis Ababa Aksum Anthropology Ark of the Covenant Epiphany Ethiopian Orthodox Church HMNS Lucy tabots Timkat 3 Replies The

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2008/02/ (2016-02-12)
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  • 2008 March | BEYONDbones
    for this position Others disagree and suggest that we use the nomenclature Homo neanderthalensis Here the term neanderthalensis is in the second position of the nomenclature referring to the species This is a scientist s way to say that the difference between humans and Neanderthalers is at the much more significant species level This has an important implication according to these proponents Neanderthal populations and Homo sapiens populations could not have produced fertile offspring Of the two positions just outlined most scientists prefer the second one and refer to DNA analysis for support DNA analysis of Neanderthal bones has been undertaken for a while A comparison of Neanderthal DNA against modern human DNA suggests that there are enough genetic differences to warrant labeling them as a separate species Most scientists therefore prefer seeing Homo neanderthalensis in the scientific literature Since interbreeding and subsequent genetic swamping cannot occur in this scenario the disappearance of the Neanderthalers is blamed on outright genocide practiced by our ancestors or greater hunting skills on the part of the newcomers Posted in Science Leave a reply Neanderthal Controversy Published by Dirk on March 3 2008 at 3 53 pm in Lucy s Legacy 1 As mentioned in a previous post the question of whether or not Neanderthalers were able to have offspring continues to be hotly debated by scientists Depending on the answer given we would have to classify Neanderthalers either as people like us or people very different from us Of course proponents of both of these statements claim they have evidence to back up their very different positions Those who suggest that there was interbreeding between our ancestors Homo sapiens sapiens and Neanderthalers would label Neanderthal bones as belonging to Homo sapiens neanderthalensis With this label the word Neanderthalensis appears in the third position of the nomenclature which refers to the level of sub species This implies that the differences between us and Neanderthalers are so small that they are contained within the range of variation one would expect to find within a species in other words we are related to Neanderthals on a sub species level rather than being classified as two different species According to this interpretation the ability to interbreed with modern humans might have also spelled doom for the Neanderthals But if the two species interbred why don t we see the typical Neanderthal look today As time went by and interbreeding between our ancestors and Neanderthalers continued the thinking goes that the Neanderthalers genetic contribution to each new generation became ever smaller Eventually this percentage became so small that all people began to look like humans rather than a Neanderthal individual Scientists refer to this scenario as genetic swamping If this is what happened it would be possible for the two species to have interbred over many generations while also explaining why the influence of Neanderthaler genes can t be seen by the naked eye A child burial uncovered in Portugal is seen as evidence that admixture between the

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  • 2008 April | BEYONDbones
    Identification Published by Erin M on April 29 2008 at 12 07 pm in Plants Insects 4 Have you ever just wondered what the weird alien like creature is in your backyard or what is that bizarre THING hanging onto you car Well we re here to help One of my favorite parts of being an entomologist is helping people to identify amazing insects and other arthropods that we have right here in our little part of the world So snap a quick photo and send it in to blogadmin hmns org Even if you know what the bugs is we d love to see all of your awesome photos We ll feature them right here on our blog with a description of the critter We can t wait to see what you have and we love a challenge Photo provided by Troy Bell Green Lynx Spider Peucitia viridans This photo was sent to us by Troy Bell a volunteer at our Woodlands Xploration Station Thanks Troy for this incredible photo of a Green Lynx Spider Peucitia viridans Lynx spiders can be distinguished from others by their hexagonal eye arrangement long tapering abdomen and spiny legs The Green Lynx Spider is the largest found in North America and can be found in the southern U S Mexico and Central America These spiders do not make a web they preserve their silk for their precious egg case which they guard ferociously They are considered to be sit and wait predators but some have been observed stalking their prey much like a cat This species has been recognized as a beneficial predator due to it s affinity for agricultural pests such as the Bollworm Moth They also unfortunately have a taste for beneficial insects like honeybees These spiders will rarely bite humans and their venom is harmless What a beautiful spider thanks again for sharing your photo with us Troy Posted in Plants Insects Tagged bees Cockrell Butterfly Center entomology moth photo spiders Woodlands Xploration Station 4 Replies Science Doesn t Sleep 4 29 08 Published by Erin B on April 29 2008 at 8 46 am in Science Reply I ve got my giant soccer ball sized eye on you photo credit MikeBlogs So here s what went down since you logged off Flava Flav might be smarter than you think A new study shows that people who can keep a beat score higher in intelligence tests Of course none of us are all that smart Do you suffer from biobigotry Not something I d like to find in my freezer Scientists in New Zealand are thawing the corpse of a 1 089 pound 26 foot giant squid the largest ever caught to learn more about how it lived Meet your great great great great great great great great Geneticists have linked a 300 year old aboriginal man found in a glacier to 17 living people Via Slashdot You look so much like your mother The world s first cloned horse

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2008/04/ (2016-02-12)
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  • 2008 May | BEYONDbones
    way this was a journey about passing on the torch Q Tara how do you think young people will respond to Grand Canyon Adventure River at Risk 3D TARA The 3D is going to amaze them There s no better way to understand the vastness of this landscape and then to feel the waves flying up in your face it s going to be really fun I think the Grand Canyon inspires everyone who sees it Every day on the river I wondered how such a place could have been created and about how to protect it for the future I really hope to return to the river when I m older maybe even with Kick Posted in Giant Screen Theatre Tagged adventure beyond bones beyondbones blog contest contest grand canyon HMNS national geographic rafting wade davis Leave a reply Stare into the Face of Death Published by Frances on May 30 2008 at 4 14 pm in Zoology 1 While doing some research on our live animals I came across a very educational video on one of our most dangerous animals the Egyptian Spiny Mouse Now normally we do a very thorough amount of research before obtaining a new critter in our collection Apparently we overlooked a minor detail of Acomys cahirinus They are a rather ferocious rodent Tony Vecchio Oregon Zoo Director pointed this out in a short video made upon arrival of this life threatening mouse Dangerous Mice at the Oregon Zoo After watching this video you can now see why Chris and I are thanking our lucky stars that we still have all of our digits and even our lives after many reckless encounters with our very own Egyptian Spiny Mouse Egyptian Spiny Mouse Posted in Zoology Tagged Acomys cahirinus dangerous animals Egyptian Spiny Mice mice Oregon Zoo 1 Reply Insect relative Insight Centipedes and Millipedes Published by Erin M on May 30 2008 at 11 31 am in Plants Insects 4 This month I d like to shed some light on two of our favorite insect relatives both of which are often misidentified misunderstood and all together mixed up The time has come to clear up some misconceptions about these very long many legged creatures Laurie and I are often suprised at how many people don t know the difference between a centipede and a millipede and we feel it is very important Centipedes and Millipedes are Arthropods which which belong to a group called myriapods meaning many legs They can be found in all different types of environments on nearly every continent on the globe Both have bodies consisting of a head which bears chewing mouthparts and a long trunk made up of several segments That is where the similarities end Sonoran Centipede Scolopendra heros The word Centipede litterally means one hundred feet In reality they can have anywhere between 30 and 346 legs with one pair of legs per body segment A Centipede s legs originate from the side of their flattened body which helps them move quite swiftly They are nocturnal predators that spend their days hiding under rocks or logs During the night they emerge to hunt for their prey which consists of mostly small insects and other bugs however some larger centipedes may be able to take down frogs lizards or even mice Centipedes have a pair of poison fangs directly beneath the head which they use to inject venom and paralyze their prey They rarely bite humans but will do so to protect themselves if handled Most centipedes are of little concern because they are very small with mild venom In Texas however we do have the giant sonoran centipede Scolopendra heros This centipede can reach 6 inches in length and has sizeable jaws that pack quite a punch The venom can cause enough pain and swelling to land you in the hospital and can be very dangerous to small children or individuals that are sensitive to insect toxins The best idea is never to handle a centipede of any size Here at the Cockrell Butterfly Center we have 3 giant centipedes Sonny Steve and Sam who are all on display They re fun to watch and take care of and I ve been working with them for a very long time so I know how to handle them and have never been bitten knock on wood Giant African Millipede Millipedes on the other hand are at the opposite end of the spectrum These gentle creatures have a rounded body much like a worm The word millipede means one thousand legs They don t really have that many but for each segment on a millipede s body there are two pairs of legs These guys can have anywhere from 80 to 400 legs Millipedes are harmless detritivores which move very slowly They live in the soil and feed on decaying organic matter and sometimes the roots and stems of small seedlings Their main defense is to roll themselves into a tight ball covering their more vulnerable parts Some species can also emit a foul smelling defensive liquid which is not usually harmful to humans Our native millipedes are very small but some such as the Giant African Millipede can reach 12 inches in length and live up to 7 years We have about 7 Giant African Millipedes 4 of our largest are on diplay Millie goes to schools with us for our Bugs on Wheels program The children have called her everything from a snake to a worm to a snail to a caterpillar and of course a centipede Well I hope you ll find this helpful next time you see one our funny long bodied friends and come and see our giants on display in the Brown Hall of Entomology Posted in Plants Insects Science Tagged arthropods bugs on wheels centipedes Cockrell Butterfly Center detritivores entomology giant aftican millipede insect identification millipedes myriapods scolopendra heros sonoran 4 Replies Roberta The other brachylophosaur Published by Erin B on May

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2008/05/ (2016-02-12)
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  • 2008 June | BEYONDbones
    leonardo leonardo exhibit malta montana mummified dinosaur national geographic Science world premiere 2 Replies The world s oldest alternative energy source Published by Claire on June 27 2008 at 4 21 pm in Energy Reply As oil reaches a new record of 143 per barrel today I think it s safe to say that energy and possible alternatives to fossil fuels are topics on everyone s mind Before the development of fossil fuel based energy technology wind power wasn t an alternate form of energy it was just the way things were done Julian Lamborn Master Docent for the Wiess Energy Hall has been kind enough to share the history of wind technology as well as share his case for developing wind energy today in this two part post Shakespeare had it right when he penned Blow blow thou winter wind thou art not so unkind The winds of the world today bring with them the promise of low cost renewable and sustainable electricity which will help feed the world s insatiable demand for energy One perk of using wind energy is it has a low atmospheric pollution potential In 2007 the globally installed capacity of electricity generation from wind increased by some 26 6 over 2006 photo credit JoshMcConnell The global capacity of wind generated electricity is currently equivalent to some 1 3 of the world s electricity needs with Germany producing the most wind power In fact Germany has 22 247 megawatts of installed wind generating capacity which meets between 5 and 7 of the country s electricity needs Here in the USA which at 16 818 MW is second only to Germany in installed wind generating capacity about 1 of our electricity needs are met by wind generation and in Texas particularly this number rises to 3 Texas is also the state that uses the most wind energy photo credit Martin It s all very well talking about a megawatt of wind generated power but what can it actually do for you in your home In very round numbers one megawatt of wind generating capacity typically will satisfy the electricity needs of 350 households in an industrial society or roughly 1 000 people per year Although wind generators are placed in windy areas and designed to run optimally at wind speeds between 25 and 35 mph wind does not blow all the time In the USA wind generators work at about 30 5 of their capacity But of course this is the modern story photo credit Wouter de Bruijn The first windmills were developed to automate the tasks of grain grinding and water pumping The earliest known design is the vertical axis system developed in Persia about 500 900 C E although there is some suggestion that King Hammurabi of Babylon in c 1760 B C E used wind driven scoops to move water for irrigation The first known documented design of a Persian windmill is one with vertical sails made of bundles of reeds or wood

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  • 2008 July | BEYONDbones
    Drew the Hardy Boys the Bobbsey Twins Beverly Cleary Richard Scary and the Electric Company Frienship bracelets were ties you couldn t break and friendship pins went on shoes preferably hightop Velcro Reebox and pegged jeans were in as were Units belts layered socks jean jackets charm necklaces side ponytails and just tails Rave was a girl s best friend braces with rubber bands made you cool T he backdoor was always open and Mom only served red Kool Aid to the neighborhood kids Entertainment was cheap and lasted for hours Come and relive the Eighties this Friday night from 6 10pm for just 15 ticket as we get radical with The Chromatics cool out in the IMAX explore the rocks and geodes of Geopalooza and be the boss on the dance floor Don t miss out on the best dance party in Houston with a ticket price straight out of another decade Mixers Elixirs IMAX is the Jam Posted in Science Tagged 80 s 80 s party 80 s shows dancing Geopalooza Giant Screen Theatre HMNS Mixers mixers elixirs and imax Leave a reply Science Doesn t Sleep 7 31 08 Published by Erin B on July 31 2008 at 8 50 am in Science Reply photo credit Gene Zhang So here s what went down since you logged off 2 100 years ago the ancient Greeks used an astronomical calculator to set the date of the Olympic Games Well they were looking for human remains Puerto Rican police found bones and possible artifacts from a colonial era ship George Jetson here we come NASA is offering 300 000 to the first person who develops a Personal Air Vehicle And it s got to be green How can you tell your pants are really fancy They tell you whether you might fall soon The Chronicle has a new evolution blog Evo Sphere It has absolutely nothing to do with science well he did teach computer tech but if you haven t seen Randy Pauch s The Last Lecture you really should UPDATE Science won t be sleeping next week but I will be Vacation Have no fear though we ve got lots of other very cool posts planned for all of next week so please check back and as always leave us a comment to let us know what you think SDS returns Aug 11 Posted in Science Tagged blog Chronicle colonial era ship colonialism evo sphere evolution fancy pants george jetson houston chronicle Jetsons last lecture PAV personal air vehicle popsci randy pausch SciGuy the last lecture Leave a reply Coming Sept 12 BODY WORLDS 2 The Brain Published by Erin B on July 30 2008 at 8 59 am in Science 3 In 2006 over a half million people took an extraordinary journey into the human body in BODY WORLDS 3 Today we are thrilled to announce that an all new BODY WORLDS exhibition will debut at the Houston Museum of Natural Science on Sept 12 2008

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  • 2008 August | BEYONDbones
    reserved Posted in Science Tagged body worlds body worlds 2 brain dr angelina whalley dr gunther von hagens neuroscience plastination Science three pound gem 1 Reply Luxurious Longwings Published by Ory on August 29 2008 at 5 08 pm in Plants Insects Reply photo credit jtloweryphotography Do you ever wonder what goes on inside the butterfly rearing greenhouses located on the rooftop of the museum s parking garage Today I m going to give you a peek at one of the precious little butterflies we raise there the Zebra longwing Heliconius charitonius Located within the screened insectaries inside the greenhouse are male and female pairs of Heliconius longwing butterflies Within the confines of each Insectary the longwing butterflies are provided a smorgasbord of goodies Their main food source is nectar which is provided to them by way of fresh blooming red and pink Pentas New Gold Lantana pink Jatropha blue Duranata red purple and blue Porter Weed and a blooming vine of Psiguria These plants provide a food source nectar and pollen to the mating pairs Our volunteers also place two bowls of artificial nectar daily as a supplement to the plants We supplement the food with artificial nectar made out of sugar and water because these little butterflies are housed in an artificial environment so we want to be sure that they don t ever run out of food nectar from flowers photo credit Hamed Saber We have pipes within the enclosure on which baskets of the Zebra longwings host plant The Passionflower hang Each week the Passionflower host plants are removed from the Insectary and placed into the pupation area Within 3 5 days tiny caterpillars hatch from eggs the female longwings have laid at the end tips of the passionflower vine These tiny soft supple leaves are the tiny caterpillars first food source Within 17 to 21 days depending on the time of the year the caterpillar is ready to pupate After the caterpillar pupates the pupae are removed from the screen pupation cages in which they are housed and taken to our entomologists for gluing They are then displayed in our Butterfly Center until the butterflies emerge The entomologist then removes them from the emergence case and releases them to flutter around the rainforest There are hundred of school children and adults that tour the greenhouses every year and they are always excited to walk into the Insectaries and be surrounded by butterflies Then we take them to the pupation area to see the caterpillars in their different stages of growth Finally they see the pupation cages where the larger caterpillars are pupating They hold the pupae touch the butterflies and look at their scales under a magnifying glass Visitors are always amazed to see the butterfly life cycle up close and we are so glad we can give them the opportunity to do so Want to learn more about butterflies and host plants Attract Black Swallowtails to your garden Find out what to feed your Monarch butterflies Flutter after Giant Swallowtails Posted in Plants Insects Tagged butterflies Butterfly Caterpillar Duranata greenhouse heliconius charitonius HMNS insect jatropha Lantana passionflower Pentas Psiguria pupate Zebra longwing Leave a reply Looking Back Published by Steven on August 29 2008 at 10 56 am in Science Reply In case you were wondering about notable events that happened the weekend of August 29 photo credit eflon On August 29 1885 German inventor Gottlieb Daimler patented the world s first motorcycle Although an earlier bike had been introduced as early as 1867 the previous model ran on steam Daimler s model ran on petroleum and was essentially a motorized bicycle The bike was never marketed and sold it was developed for experimental purposes only On August 30 1836 the city of Houston was founded by Augustus Chapman Allen and John Kirby Allen They purchased 6 600 acres along the Buffalo Bayou They named the city after Texas hero General Sam Houston Another early Kodak camera photo credit John Kratz On September 1 1969 the first automatic teller machine was installed in New York Currently the most northerly ATM is located in Longyearbyen Svalbard Norway while the southern most ATM is located at McMurdo Station in Antarctica On September 4 1888 George Eastman registers the trademark Kodak and receives a patent for his camera which uses roll film However nobody in his first photograph said the word cheese The roll film also was used by Louis Le Prince Leon Bouly Thomas Edison and the Lumiere Brothers to make movies He sold 100 cameras by 1896 the first sold for 25 Posted in Science Tagged ATM Augustus Chapman Allen Buffalo Bayou cameras Daimler first motorcycle founding of Houston General Sam Houston George Easman Gottlieb Daimler Houston John Kirby Allen Kodak Leon Bouly Longyearbyen Louis Le Prince lumiere brothers McMurdo Station roll film Sam Houston Thomas Edison Leave a reply Terra Cotta Warriors An army frozen in time Published by Dirk on August 28 2008 at 4 31 pm in Anthropology 8 All eyes have been on China for the last few weeks as Michael Phelps Usain Bolt and many other Olympians have been shattering world records at the 2008 Beijing Olympics Media coverage was intense but this particular video on the Terra Cotta Warriors caught our eye because we re eagerly anticipating May 18 2009 opening day for Terra Cotta Warriors Guardian s of China s First Emperor at the Houston Museum of Natural Science Here Dirk gives us more context on these extraordinary treasures Dateline 240 BC Mighty Celtic tribes far from being barbarians rule over most of what is Western Europe today Engaged in long distance trade with the Mediterranean they will soon fall under the sway of an upstart from that region Rome Across the water on the northern shores of Africa another mighty empire blossoms Carthage It too will eventually fall under the sway of Rome Further east Egypt had long faded from its glory days and is ruled by

    Original URL path: http://blog.hmns.org/2008/08/ (2016-02-12)
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